Domestic Terrorism

Domestic Terrorism


It is hard to forget. Images of airliners used as missiles in terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon as well as bombing attacks on the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City and the Olympic Centennial Park in Atlanta.


These terrorist events caused thousands of deaths and injuries and billions of dollars in property losses. They have also inflicted a huge emotional toll within the impacted communities as well as throughout the world.


The FBI defines terrorism as "the unlawful use of force or violence against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives." A significant terrorism threat we face today is that of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) which consist of Biological, Nuclear, Incendiary, Chemical, and Explosive weapons.


Although bombing has been the most popular method used in terrorist incidents in the United States, terrorism can occur in several forms. In recent years, terrorists throughout the world have used arson, hostile takeovers and shootings to attain their political and social goals.


In the future, terrorists could use chemical or biological agents. Because the impact of exposure to some organisms, toxins and other biological agents may not cause an immediate illness or reaction, it may take some time for government officials to determine that such an attack has occurred.


In the event of an attack, government officials will instruct residents on what actions they are taking and what actions the public should take. It's important that you remain calm, cooperate fully with local officials and do not try to be a hero. Failure to follow instructions from local officials could cost you and others their lives.


In the event of a widespread chemical or biological attack, instructions can be provided by local public health, environmental health and safety officials. Information may cover personal protection, decontamination and health warnings via the Emergency Alert System (EAS) broadcast over radio and television, online through the Web and Social Media, as well as print media.


As we have seen, domestic and international terrorists can strike at any time. To combat the threat, emergency management officials representing all levels of government are working together to develop and implement effective strategies for deterring, preventing and responding to incidents. To assist individuals in preparing for emergencies, the County of Riverside Emergency management Department, State of California, American Red Cross and the Federal Emergency Management Agency, have provided information on what to do during emergencies.

Federal, state and local law enforcement, fire, and emergency medical services officials meet on a regular basis to plan and evaluate preparedness activities throughout the county.

The public also has a role in reducing the impact of terrorism on their lives.


Prepare for the possibility of a terrorist incident in your area:


  • Learn about the nature of terrorism.
  • Adapt, as appropriate, the same techniques used to prepare for earthquakes, fires and other emergencies.
  • If you live or work in multi-level buildings:
    • Assemble and maintain an emergency supply kit for your workspace that includes those items listed in this brochure. Also compile essential emergency preparedness items in back packs for your emergency response team members.


These are actions we take to safeguard our family members and ourselves from harm. The most common emergency protective actions are evacuation and shelter-in-place.

  • Evacuation means to leave the area of actual or potential hazard.
  • Shelter-in-place means to stay indoors. This includes additional precautions such as turning off air-conditioning, ventilation systems and closing all windows and doors.


  • Remain calm.
  • Be aware of your surroundings.
  • Have a Family Preparedness Plan.
  • Stay informed.
  • If an evacuation is ordered, follow the instructions of local officials regarding evacuation routes and the location of shelters.
  • If shelter-in-place is recommended, local officials will provide instructions on necessary actions.
  • Do not leave your sheltered location or return to the evacuated area until it is deemed safe to do so by local officials.


Maintaining an emergency supply kit is a good idea for any emergency. Individuals and organizations should be prepared to be without assistance for a minimum of 72 hours.

  • Battery-powered radio, flashlights, batteries
  • Whistle
  • First aid kit and manual
  • Hard hats
  • Duct tape
  • Fluorescent tape to rope off dangerous areas
  • Water
  • Food (canned, no-cook, packaged snacks)
  • Manual can opener
  • Cash and credit cards
  • Change of clothing, rain gear, and sturdy shoes
  • Blankets or sleeping bags
  • Fire extinguisher (A-B-C) type
  • Infant and feminine hygiene supplies
  • Essential medicines and eyeglasses
  • Names, addresses, and telephone numbers of doctors and pharmacist
  • Food and water for pets
  • Large plastic bags for trash, waste, water protection
  • Toilet paper and paper towels
  • Charcoal grill or camp stove for OUTDOOR cooking


Listed below are sources for emergency preparedness information. (Department of Homeland Security) (Federal Emergency Management Agency) (California Office of Emergency Services) 1-800-550-5234 (Riverside County Fire) (Riverside County Environmental Health) (Riverside County Public Health)

For general information on health guidelines for agents capable of being used as biological threats please contact:

Riverside County Dept. of Public Health (909) 358-5107

Department of Environmental Health (909) 358-5055

For further information on preparing for an emergency please contact:

County of Riverside Emergency Management Department (909) 955-4700 or (760) 863-8318